Time running out as govt fails to implement reconstruction projects


KATHMANDU, April 9: With time running out, the government has failed to implement most of the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation projects despite signing agreements with various donor agencies.

Last year, the government had set a time frame of five years to complete the reconstruction works but has made “very little progress”.

Yam Lal Bhoosal, spokesman of the National Reconstruction Authority, informed that the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japan have already launched their post-quake reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in various earthquake-affected districts.

“However, very few amount have been utilized in the quake-affected areas so far,” Bhoosal said. “Other donors are yet to begin their projects.”

The government has signed agreements up to USD 3.066 billion with various international donors for the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation out of the total pledged amount of USD 4.1 billion, which they had pleaded during the International Donors’ Conference held in June 2015.

The Ministry of Finance informed that different countries and donor agencies have so far committed USD 1.55 billion as grant and USD 1.51 billion as loan for Nepal.

“We had signed MoU with the United Kingdom about four months ago for the grant assistance of USD 165.5 million,” said Lal Bahadur Khatri, under secretary at the ministry. “Almost 90 percent of the total-pleaded amount during the donor conference has been affirmed and the remaining amount is also in the pipeline.”

He said that the partners will be working in the areas as per the conditions mentioned in the agreements. “The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is committed to cooperate with the donors for the reconstruction and rehabilitation projects,” he said.

Likewise, Nepal has signed grant agreements with China for USD 766 million, India for USD 250 million, UK for USD 165 million, USA for 159 million, European Union for USD 118 million, Germany for USD 34 million, Japan for USD 32 million, Asian Development Bank for USD 15 million, Korea for USD 8 million and Finland for USD 1 million. Similarly, India has committed USD 750 million as loan, World Bank for 300 million, Asian Development Bank for USD 200 million, Japan for USD 214 million and International Monetary Fund for USD 50 million.

The government had estimated that around USD 9 billion would be required for the overall task of post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“We signed a grant agreement with India for USD 1 billion around six months ago but we are still to fix the projects,” Bhoosal said.

“The total time frame set to spend the amount is five years. However, one year has already passed since we signed the agreement and four years are left to implement the agreements signed with different partners, with very little progress,” said Bhoosal.

The donors had primarily signed agreements with the objective of reestablishing public health service in Nuwakot, school buildings in Bhaktapur, district hospitals in Gorkha, Rasuwa, Dolakha, Ramechhap and other affected districts.

First appeared in Republica national daily